With short auburn-tan hair and skin that's pale even in the midst of summer, Suzumoto Yuki had always been different.
From young he had only been interested in boys.
In the past, the him who didn't know better, kept on thinking that he was abnormal. Or even felt that, a weirdo like him should not even have been born into this world.
And so, he had done lots of stupid things. The most gossiped one by all the student body was him confessing his love to another boy in Junior High and was rejected. Of course, he wasn't stupid enough to end his own life over the rejection and the humiliation but he had never managed to get past this shadow.
Only after he had entered a new High School, had he learned to face himself. And know that in this world, there are actually lots of others like him.
All he ever wanted was to be normal and not be ostracized like an outcast. When he goes to school, he wished people would treat him friendly and not call him a faggot or gay. He wanted to become a person who doesn't scare others.
Yes, take for example, Shinji-kun.
Magome Shinji was a popular boy in school. He was so refreshing.
Every morning Yuki would see Shinji walking to school alongside the steep hill. Friends always surrounded him, laughing, joking, and talking to him.
And every morning, Yuki would get a tiny surprise, as Shinji would walk by him and wave. "Good morning Suzumoto."
Such a good person! Yuki admired with a beam of sunshine. He talked to him like he does to everyone else.
"G-g-good … m-m-morning …" Yuki hesitantly mumbled a small reply.
"Hey Shinji," one of his friend poked the raven hair boy, "don't talk to that faggot Yuki, rumor has it if you stare at him five times in one day you'll turn gay like him. They say it's contagious!"
"What kind of rumor is that?" Shinji replied with a frown as he walked off. "But more importantly, that's stupid."
Such a rumor didn't really bother Yuki. After all, he had endured them all throughout Junior High. He only hoped that the person he admired the most, Shinji-kun, would not judge him by such gossip. But rumors about him had always been spreading around. And Shinji-kun probably already knows them well because he had always been the focus of everyone's attention.
And why wouldn't Shinji-kun be? He was bright and energetic. Everyone naturally assembled around him. It's like the boys gathered in a ring around him, completely opposite of what they do to Yuki.
So admirable, Yuki thought while sitting alone in class. He wished he had more chances to get to know Shinji-kun. Their first intermission was brief, on the day of the High School entrance ceremony.
Yuki had found a boy who seemed to be lost. Someone who he didn't recognize, perhaps from a different Junior High?
However, they had the same High School uniform. And with all his courage, Yuki spoke to that boy. "Um… If you are … perhaps … if you are looking for the Onizuka High School, it's over there … to your right …"
"Eh?" An instant reply, "Thank you."
T-t-thank y-y-you? What a shock! Yuki panicked. No one from school had ever said thank you to him before. No one had thanked him until that day, no one but Shinji-kun, who didn't run away like the other boys. Then again, Yuki pondered at his desk in awe, Shinji-kun had never run away from him before. He was always laughing and said "thank you" to him, even though other people had always treated him differently.
Ever since that day, Shinji-kun had been Yuki's idol. He wanted to become more like him.
And so Yuki found himself in the same classroom as his icon, and thus begins his new High School life.
"So, nice to meet everyone, we are class 1-5," Shinji announced to the class in front of the teacher's stand, "there's going to be a small gathering tomorrow after school to get to know everyone. It'll be at the local restaurant. I'll stick this paper on the bulletin board, so you guys who want to participate, write your names on there. But, if possible, participate everyone, there's a fee of 500 yen for drinks and food preparation. We'll have games too like a mystery guessing game. I'll be posting the results of the game and the prizes and punishment games on the day after."
Everyone … Yuki contemplated. Is it all right for me to go too? His tiny heart started to thump.
Slowly, he scuttled towards the bulletin board like all the other students. His eyes aimed at the small paper.
"Oumph," Yuki bumped into someone, "Ah … I-I-I'm sorry."
"Haha, you got touched by Yuki," one of the student shouted at his friend, "You'll turn gay now."
"Hey, shut up, that's not funny."
"Wait, maybe he likes you, he's going to confess to you!" Another mockery.
"What?" The boy stared at Yuki with a disgusted look, "get the hell away from me faggot."
"B-b-but I was just wanting … wanting to sign … sign up …"
"Sigh up?" Another classmate interrupted, "is Yuki coming too?"
"Eww, he's going to bring all his gay boyfriends with him."
"What? Yuki is coming? I don't want to go if that gay guy goes."
As expected, Yuki lowered his head and returned to his desk. He can't meet the expectation. It would be inexcusable if they dropped out because of him. He would only feel worse.
At the end of the period, Yuki didn't bother signing up for the class event. He packed his stuff in his bag and marched out of the classroom as quickly as possible. (His normal getaway routine.)
"Hold on," a familiar voice intercepted Yuki before he could charge the door. "You dropped this." It was Shinji.
Yuki stared back blankly. He was surprised.
"This is yours, right? It has your name on it."
Yuki looked, it was his notebook. "Ah … um … ok." He took it and stuffed it down his bag.
"Heh, you are welcome."
"O-oh! T-t-thank you." He forgot to thank him! Why is he so stupid, Yuki cringed. "Well then … I'll … I'll be going now."
Turning around, Yuki continued towards the exit. That was so nice of Shinji-kun.
"… You're amazing Suzumoto …"
E-eh-ehhhh? Those words stopped the boy in his track. Yuki whipped around in shock. "Hu-huh? W-what did you … How am I …?"
No! Yuki started to shake. Shinji-kun is the amazing one. He treats me even fairly!
"Yeah, and …" Shinji paused and stared back with his shiny onyx eyes and suddenly looked away. "No, never mind, it's nothing."
Eh? Nothing? Those awkward words only made Yuki even more unnerving. He must believe that he'll turn gay if he looked at me more than five times a day!
Oh no! "I'M SORRY!" Yuki yelled and mad dashed out of the classroom.
That was impossible, Yuki rushed to the restroom. He almost made such a good person feel uncomfortable. What was he thinking?
Fourth period came after lunch. Yuki returned to class after eating alone as usual. Their sensei walked into class and announced he needed an extra student member to help with after school paperwork. "Everyone, our first exam will be coming up shortly. If one student could help me after school it would be greatly appreciated. Any volunteers?"
(Reference: Teachers are referred as Sensei.)
Everyone hesitated to answer.
"What a pain," a small murmur.
"I'm not doing it," another chant.
"If there are no volunteers, I'll just decide on my own then. Today is the thirteenth, so why doesn't the thirteenth seat …"
"You've got to be kidding me!" Someone yelled out.
This isn't good. Yuki thought, paying attention to all his classmates. Everyone's troubled … so … "E-e-excuse me sensei, if you'd like, I could …" He raised his hand.
"Su … Suzumoto? Will you?"
"Sensei!" A sudden interruption, again, it was Shinji. "Suzumoto always has been doing stuff like that since beginning of the school year. Always volunteering for after class cleanup or doing odd jobs."
"Huh?" Everyone in the class looked at each other. "Really?"
"I think we should have someone else do it, he'll have too much to do with this and all that other weird chores." Shinji continued.
"Oh? Then you'll do it Magome?" The sensei raised an eyebrow.
Shinji paused, realizing the trap he had just set for himself. "Humph. I guess there's no way out. I'll do it!"
No … no way! Yuki felt speechless. Shinji-kun knew about it. He pays attention to everyone in class and even knew that he did things like this. He is so cool. This might be the first time Yuki had felt so worthy.
No! Yuki shot up, slamming his desk in the process. He can't let Shinji-kun take the burden. "Please sensei! Let me do it … I'm … I'm … not really doing anything after school, I'm very free, very, very free." After all it was the truth; Yuki didn't have any friends to hang out with after school.
"Well, if you put it that way …" The sensei stuttered a bit from such a forceful request. "I'll see you after school then Suzumoto."
"Tha-thank you sensei."